2014 will be a big year. A big year for computers, tablets and mobile phones that is. In 2014, it is predicted that there will be 2 billion personal computers worldwide. There will be a predicted 180 million tablets worldwide , and tablet sales in the US is predicted to be at 90 million and will surpass laptop sales in the US for the first time. In fact, in 2014, 1 out of every 3 online consumers is predicted to be using a tablet to peruse the web in the US. And perhaps the biggest benchmark of them all, the number of mobile phones in use in 2014 is expected to surpass the world population of 7.3 billion.
So what do all of these events have to do with your business having a website, you ask? With all of the devices out there and the world population getting access to the internet via computers, tablets, and mobile phones, if your company doesn’t have an online presence, it is losing out on some major business! In fact, by 2014, 78% of US consumers will use the Internet for shopping. So how do you get your business online so that you don’t miss out on the increased online business?
It all starts with a professionally designed website. It is important to invest appropriately in this because you only have 0.05 seconds to make a positive impression on first-time visitors. If you don’t make a good impression right off the bat, chances are potential customers won’t even give you a chance. Investing in a professionally designed website will ensure that you leave a great impression with first time visitors which, in turn, leads to a much higher return on investment.
One of the most important aspects of your website is the content that you provide. While an attractive, professionally design gets visitors to stay on your site and look around, content is what will keep them coming back. Content should add value to your visitor and give them a reason to keep coming back to your website, and the best way to do this is by providing fresh content on a regular basis. Make sure you focus on quality content over quantity, and that you’re offering the kind of content that your target market is seeking out.
Another important aspect of your website is your call-to-action (CTA). You want to make sure your CTA is clear, consistent, and visible across all areas of your website. Really think about what you want visitors to do when they’re on your site, and then design your CTA to reflect this. For example, do you want them to call you? Fill out a form? Purchase something? Spell it out to visitors from the beginning and make it easy for them to fulfill.
With the adoption of mobile devices and tablets, websites are increasingly being viewed on variable screen sizes and not just on the computer anymore. That leads me to another feature that you will want to make sure your site has, responsive design. Responsive design optimizes your website for viewing on multiple screen sizes- everything from small smartphone screens- around 320 pixels, to tablets- around 768 pixels, to laptops and desktops- starting around 1024+ pixels (read more about responsive design). A responsive site ensures that visitors are able to access your site and easily find information, regardless of whether they are out and about and viewing it on their mobile phone, browsing on a tablet, or using a traditional laptop or desktop.
One obvious, but often overlooked, website must is to make sure your contact information is listed and easy to find. Nobody likes going on a treasure hunt to try to find a phone number or email address if they have a question or need help. Having a clearly marked Contact page that lists out all modes of contact and instructions for contacting you, and including the same information in the footer is standard practice and makes it easy for visitors to locate this information and contact you.
Lastly, once you have your site up and running, don’t treat it as a completed project, but as a living and evolving piece of your business. In order to stay up-to-date, you will need to update information as it changes, provide fresh content, and actively promote it. SEO is important for increasing online visibility letting your site be found by new visitors looking for your products or services- even simple SEO can make a big difference!
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The number of mobile phones surpassing the entire world population in 2014 is a big deal and shows how widespread and available new technologies have become. Make sure your business doesn’t miss out on the increased use of internet for business transactions by making sure you have a website, that it creates a good first impression, and that it provides content that is of value to your target market. 2014 is right around the corner- make it an even bigger year by adding your online presence to the list of benchmarks!